Monday, May 19, 2014

David Kingham's 'NightScape' eBook

An eBook Review: "Nightscape - A Complete Guide to Photographing Under the Night Sky" by David Kingham, published by Craft and Vision, 120 pages in electronic format. $12.00

Unique and Narrow Scope. At last, someone got it right! This was my first impression, after a quick review of David's "Nightscape" ebook. Although there are multiple definitions of the word "nightcape", David and I share many similar feelings about this term. This is the first book to adequately cover the style of starry night photography that many of my peers and I are currently doing.

In my opinion, the sub-title, "A Complete Guide to Photographing Under the Night Sky" is a bit misleading. This is not a broad guide to all types of night photography, but it is the best guide to a unique type of astro-landscape photography that is rapidly becoming very popular.

Preparation is the key. David and I also share a basic approach to nightscape photography, and that is that preparation is paramount to one's success in this type of nocturnal photography. Much of his book is devoted to familiarizing you with the cycles of the night sky, scouting techniques, and selecting the proper gear, before illustrating the how-to of actual shooting.

Guiding Principles. Nightscape is not just a book of pretty pictures. David is not trying to showcase his photography, nor is his goal to to help you make pretty pictures. His goal is to "inspire you, to reconnect you to the world around you and the sky above, so that ...your day-to-day worries and fears disappear, and you stop thinking about the past and the future, and you are one with the present." David's approach is to teach just enough of the technical aspects of night photography in order for you "…to reach the point where your camera does not get in the way of realizing your vision. Once you do not think about the technical aspects, you can truly focus on your vision."

Pg. 37: Light painted Double Arch and Milky Way ~ © David Kingham / Craft & Vision
(Out of 120 pages, I counted only 27 that were just "pretty pictures" —and these
still had purpose, because they were used to illustrate a technique in that section.)
Pg. 70: Milky Way over Oxbox Bend - Grand Teton N.P. (9-image panorama)
© David Kingham / Craft & Vision
Table of Contents. Nightscape is divided into six main sections:
  1. Understanding the Night Sky (20 pages) - i.e., the Milky Way, Meteor Showers, Moon Phases, Constellations, Galaxies, Comets, and the Aurora
  2. Scouting (19 pages) - i.e., The Milky Way’s Cycle, Meteor Showers, Finding Dark Skies, Finding A Foreground Subject, and [predicting the] Weather
  3. Gear (9 pages) - i.e., Selecting A Camera, Selecting A Lens, Panoramic Gear, Intervalometer, Lighting, and Tracking Mount
  4. In the Field (7 pages) - i.e., [dealing with] Fear, Cold, Darkness, and Composing In The Dark
  5. Shooting Techniques (26 pages) - Basic and Advanced
  6. Post Processing (33 pages) - Lightroom Effects and Special Effects
Sample Pages from each section:

Pg. 22: Describing "Airglow" in the Understanding the Night Sky section
of Nightscape ~ © David Kingham / Craft & Vision
Pg. 26: Charting the Milky Way's cycles from the Scouting section of Nightscape ~ © Craft & Vision
Pg. 48: Sample page from the Gear section of Nightscape ~ © Craft & Vision
Pg. 58: Sample page (cropped) from the In the Field section of Nightscape
© David Kingham / Craft & Vision
Pg. 75: Illustrating how to lower noise in the foreground exposure, from the Shooting Techniques
section of Nightscape ~ © David Kingham / Craft & Vision
Pg. 96: Before & after Lightroom adjustment examples, from from the Post Processing
section of Nightscape ~ © David Kingham / Craft & Vision
Resources Page. Nightscape ends with an excellent Resources page that includes 51 hot links to charts, tools, software, and workshops.

Conclusion. Pros: No other ebook currently comes close to providing the depth and focus that Nightscape provides for the starry night astro-landscape photographer. The book is well organized, and beautifully designed, which is typical of Craft and Vision books. Cons: Although the Lightroom post processing techniques are plentiful and well illustrated, there are no Photoshop techniques in the book. The light painting equipment discussion is adequate, but is lacking in how-to examples.

Availability: As of May 19, Nightscape is available for online purchase directly from Craft and Vision for $12.00, and includes a download link to 22 of David's Lightroom presets. Special Discount: This ebook will be on sale (20% off) for $9.60 through May 26.

COMPARISON to other night photography ebooks: Last November I did a review on the Shooting Stars ebook. Although I recommend both of these books, they are quite different in their scope. Shooting Stars covers a broader range of night photography, whereas Kingham's Nightscape has a narrower focus, with a greater depth of information in his area of expertise.

Royce's 2014 Workshop, Lecture & Video Conference Schedule:


  1. Royce,

    i buy your book yesterday, and i did not get any instrutions or links... i send a msg to support e-mail, and notthing... what should i do?